Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) struggled through another GOP debate last night, fumbling several questions. After claiming that U.S. ally Turkey was run by “Islamic terrorists,” Perry clearly felt the need to stick to his main talking points — the need for lower taxes, less regulation, and a part-time Congress — not matter what question he was asked.
When confronted directly about what he would do to alleviate America’s continuing housing crisis, Perry dodged, resorting to his old stand-bys — and an off-the-wall joke about Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s taxes:
MODERATOR: What measures would you immediately take to improve the housing market, or do you consider any such intervention to be an overreach of government?
PERRY: Well obviously the first thing we need to do in this country is cut the tax rate down…That’s the reason I laid out a simple and flat tax of 20%…Even Timothy Geithner can get his taxes in with that type of a system. And that is where we need to be focused is creating jobs, is pulling back those regulations that we talk about since ’08…As President of the United States that’s what I’m going to do…work towards a Balanced Budget Amendment..and try to pass a constitutional amendment, if the people will accept and work with, to make Congress a part-time body…
MODERATOR: Governor, so beyond moving to a part-time congress and encouraging the rest of the nation to follow Texas in terms of job creation, you would take no pointed measures aimed at helping the U.S. housing market?
PERRY: I think I said two things that are pretty powerful — cut the taxes and cut the regulation, which will increase the jobs and people will have the income to come in. I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility’s — look we’ve seen that before with Fannie and Freddie. We don’t need the federal government in the housing market anymore. They need to be out of the housing market.
Perry’s stilted and rambling response revealed that he has no clue about — much less a solution to — the dire situation millions of middle class families are facing. American homes have lost $7 trillion in value in five years, four million Americans are either behind on their payments or in foreclosure, and a quarter of the nation’s homeowners are underwater.
As ThinkProgress has been reporting, none of the major candidates have offered a single substantive solution to the foreclosure crisis. Mitt Romney, for instance, has insisted that the government should not try to prevent foreclosures and allow the housing market to “hit bottom.”
Economists continue to emphasize that the collapse of housing prices is a major impediment to economic recovery that undermines consumer confidence. Housing experts and Occupy protesters have pleaded for more government intervention to save millions of families from being evicted from their homes.